AN EXPOSITION VPON THE THIRTIETH PSALME.
In whose Spirit there is no guile.
GVile is a spirituall deceit, whereby a man de∣ceiues himselfe before God in the matter of his saluation.
The kinds of it may bee reduced to foure heads.
1. Guile, in respect of Gods fauour when a man is deceiued by a false perswasion, that he is in the fauour and loue of God. This is done three wayes:
1. By comparisons; when a man compares himselfe either with himselfe, or with grosse notorious sinners that come farre behind him in goodnes, or with ciuil righteous men. As did the Pharises, Luk. 18.11, 12. such are said to bee aliue whithout the Law. Rom. 7.9.
2. By reason of temporall blessings, which because a man doth enioy plentifully, so he straightway concludes, that he is beloued of God.
3. Lastly, which is the most fearefull, when men being pu∣nished with crosses and calamities, doe hereupon gather, that God loueth them, saying, that they haue their punishment here, and so they shall escape hereafter; though in the meane time they neuer repent of their sinnes, and leaue their wicked cour∣ses, for which end God did thus punish them.
2. Guile and deceit of the heart in respect of Sinne; this is either before or after the committing of it.
Before the committing of a sinne, a mans hear• deceiues and beguiles him foure wayes.
Page 1191. By perswading him, it is but a small veniall sinne; so extenuating it, as a matter not much to be stood vpon.
2. But if the sinne doe seeme great and vgly, then it labours to make him beleiue that God seeth it not, he takes no notice of it.
3. If this perswasion take no place, but that he thinke God will see it, then it suggesteth vnto him that he will not punish him for it, he will passe by it, &c.
4. If all this serue not the turne, then it perswadeth him, that repentance may easily be had for it, that he will repent for it a∣fore he dies, &c.
After a sinne committed, the guile is threefold.
1. A mans corrupt heart will endeuor to bring him to a loue and liking of that sinne, and make it seeme pleasant vnto him, that he may not repent for it.
Secondly, or else to cause him to defend it by colourable shiftes and excuses, that he may seeme to doe it lawfully.
Thirdly, if it doe begin to gripe him, and to pricke his con∣science, then doth it labour to choke this griefe and sorrow, and so to hinder sound repentance, and that three wayes:
First, by merriment, when a man thinkes it but a melancho∣ly, and so gets him among merry companions to musicke, and such like, to driue it away.
Secondly, if so it leaue him not, then hee performes some short humiliation for fashion sake, without true sorrow indeed, that so hereby hee may as it were, get himselfe out of Gods hands.
Thirdly, by some ceremony or other; as when some coue∣tous extortioner that gets his goods vnlawfully, and neuer thinkes of restitution, vpon his death bed, or before, will giue somewhat to build an Almes-house, and so make amends for all. This is but a ceremony as it were.
3. Guile, in respect of vertues and graces, when a man de∣ceiues him•elfe with a counterfeit shew of them; as
First, when he perswades himselfe to be a true worshipper of God, because he frequents the places and exercises of his ser∣uice.
Page 192Secondly, to bee a true Christian, because he performes the outward duties of Religion.
Thirdly, when hee beguiles himselfe with the shadow of Faith and repentance, and all other particular graces, whereof there is no one but may be counterefited.
Fourthly, guile in respect of the Word, and workes of the Spirit: for first, a man may haue, first, knowledge of the Word; secondly, assent vnto this knowledge; thirdly, a man may make profession of it; fourthly, yea, he may stand for the defence of the truth thereof, and yet may he be beguiled with a false hope of his good estate; all things being wrought in him by that wonderfull power of God, whereby hee causeth euen the wic∣ked and vngodly to giue testimony to the truth of his Word.
Secondly, there may bee wrought in him, first, a kind of loue and ioy in the Word; secondly, a willingnesse to heare it; thirdly, a reformation of some sinnes and corruptions in the life and conuersation (which is done by the restraining, and not sanctifying Spirit,) as there was in Herod, Mark. 6.20. with diuers the like graces; and neuerthelesse as Herod did, he may nourish some one bosome sinne, and so be farre from the state of sound conuersion.
Diuers other such deceits there are, but these are the princi∣pall: which things seeing they are so, and that the heart is de∣ceitfull aboue all things, yea, and who can know it?
Let vs labour and learne, first, to suspect our hearts, and not trust them too farre, but by due examination find out the wiles and subtilties thereof. Secondly, to get vs sincere and vpright hearts.